Monday, May 17, 2010

Science and Statistics Animations

Sumanas is a provider of animations of science and statistics concepts. Their public gallery of animations is divided into ten categories dealing with various topics in biology, chemistry, Earth science, and statistics. Many of the animations are narrated, but even those that aren't are very clear none-the-less. The largest selections of animations are found in the biology categories. Pictured below is a screen capture from the animation of heat changing a protein.

Applications for Education
The animations provided by Sumanas in their public gallery could be good supplements to your course notes. Some of the animations include quizzes at the end that students can use to self-assess their understanding of a concept.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
10 Sources of Educational Science Games
A Large Collection of Cell Biology Videos
The Interactive Periodic Table

One Day In - This Day in History on a Google Map

There are plenty of websites that will deliver an interesting "this day in history" fact to you everyday. There are even gadgets for your iGoogle homepage that will inform you of significant events every day of the year. Yet there are few sites that will geolocate "this day in history" facts for you. That is exactly what One Day In does.

One Day In places "this day in history" trivia facts on a Google Map in the place where each event happened. You can find facts through searching by date or by simply clicking placemarks on the map.

Applications for Education
I know some teachers like to include a little "trivia for the day" element in their classrooms. One Day In is one way to provide students with a little geographic context for those bits of trivia.

One thing to note about One Day In is that the content is crowd-sourced so use your best judgment in determining the validity of all information on the site.

Five Ways Students Can Build Multimedia Timelines

The end of the school year is quickly approaching for many of us in the teaching profession. In fact, my last day of school is 27 days from now. Like many other high school classes, my classes will soon begin reviewing for final exams. One of the review activities that I've had students do in the past is create multimedia timelines containing key events and concepts from the year. Last year my students used XTimeline to do this, but there are other good options available. Here are five ways students can create multimedia timelines.

I've written about XTimeline in the past because I find it to be a great service that is very accessible to high school students. Using XTimeline students can collaborate, just as they would when making a wiki, to build a multimedia timeline. Timelines built using XTimeline can include text, images, and video. XTimeline will accept dates in A.D./B.C. format.

TimeGlider offers some nicer layout features compared to XTimeline, but is not quite as intuitive to use as XTimeline. The layout features that I like about TimeGlider is the ability to stagger or indent events below each other in a sequence. TimeGlider also makes it easy to display the relative importance of an event by increasing its size in comparison to other events on the timeline. Like XTimeline, TimeGlider accepts dates in A.D./B.C. format.

Time Toast is quiet easy to learn to use. To add events to a timeline simply click on the inconspicuous "add an event" button and a simple event box pops up in which you can enter enter text, place a link, or add a picture. Time Toast does not have the more advanced editing options that XTimeline and TimeGlider offer. What it offers instead is ease of use which makes it a suitable choice for students in elementary school or middle school.

TimeRime allows users to create timelines that include text, images, audio, and video. One of the better features of TimeRime is that you can have more than one type of media for each event on your timeline. TimeRime users can also select which media type they want as the feature piece of each event. As we've come to expect with any web 2.0 tool of this type, you can embed the timeline in a blog or share it via email.

Dipity is a great timeline creation tool that allows users to incorporate text, images, and videos into each entry on their timeline. Dipity also incorporates a mapping feature which allows users to place a Google Maps bookmark related to the topics the timeline covers. Like most good web tools, Dipity has a collaboration option and has multiple options for sharing products publicly or privately. Each entry to a Dipity timeline can include multiple types of media which allows users to add more detail and information than can be included in a traditional timeline.

Do you have a favorite timeline building tool? If so, please share it in the comments.

Goofram - Google and Wolfram Alpha Side by Side

Goofram is a mash-up of Google Search and Wolfram Alpha search. Enter your search term(s) into Goofram and it will display relevant results drawn from Google and Wolfram Alpha.

Goofram really shines when you're searching for information about a topic that could potentially have a lot of numerical information as well as text-based information. For example, when I searched using the phrase, "first person to climb Mount Everest," the result was a column of links, generated by Google, to articles about Mount Everest and a column of statistical information, generated by Wolfram Alpha, about Mount Everest.

(click the image below to see my Goofram results page).

Applications for Education
Goofram could be a good resource for science and mathematics students conducting online research. By having statistical information displayed side-by-side with text-based information students will save time as they are essentially getting a two-for-one with Goofram.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Beyond Google - Improve Your Search Results
Mashpedia - The Real-time Encyclopedia
Wolfram Alpha for Educators - Free Lesson Plans